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Michelle Obama pushes for healthier menus

Posted by Devra First  September 13, 2010 04:21 PM

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File Photo/Alex Wong, Getty

Michelle Obama spoke about the Let's Move! campaign in May.

Michelle Obama addressed the National Restaurant Association today, as part of her Let's Move! campaign, which targets childhood obesity.

She called for healthy choices on menus, pointing out that families no longer eat at restaurants just to celebrate special occasions.

"Today, one out of every $2 spent on food in this country goes towards meals outside the home -- and that's double what it was just 50 years ago. And one-third of all meals today are eaten in restaurants. So it's clear that eating out has become part of our American way of life," Obama said.

Prevailing on the consciences of the industry members gathered, she continued: "But here's the thing. Even if we give parents all the information they need and we improve school meals and build brand new supermarkets on every corner, none of that matters if when families step into a restaurant, they can't make a healthy choice."

Some of the suggestions she made would be a personal sacrifice, she said. They "could mean serving 1 percent or skim milk. Or you could make healthy sides like apple slices or carrots the default choice in a menu and make fries something customers have to request -- which would hurt me deeply. [Laughter.] I'm a fry lover."

You'll find a complete transcript of her speech here.

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Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.

Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.

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